Falcons backup quarterback spot behind Matt Ryan wide open

ATLANTA -- T.J. Yates didn't enter training camp thinking he was entitled to anything.

Although the Atlanta Falcons quarterback has one playoff win under his belt and essentially ran offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme when he played for Gary Kubiak in Houston, Yates knew how key preseason games would be in determining the backup to starter Matt Ryan.

So when Falcons coach Dan Quinn announced after Friday's 31-24 win over Tennessee how the job is "100 percent still a competition" between Yates and Sean Renfree, Yates wasn't taken by surprise.

"DQ's central theme of this program is competition," Yates said after the game, referring to Quinn's message. "We are competing at every position every single day. I have to earn my spot on this team, like everybody else."

Yates would be the first to admit his first live action this season was a little shaky. He took over for Ryan after one series and completed 9 of 15 passes for 105 yards with an interception in 32 snaps. He was sacked once and had a passer rating of 53.5.

Yates, who ran his share of bootlegs, wishes he had a couple of passes back as he was obviously off target. There appeared to be miscommunication between himself and rookie receiver Justin Hardy on the interception.

Meanwhile, Renfree completed 6 of 7 passes for 68 yards in 23 snaps. His passer rating was 107.1.

"Just managed the game," Renfree said. "I think we had a couple of run options that we did a good job with. Our guys did a good job with communication. That one was one thing Kyle, I know, wanted to see us to do was get in and out of the huddle quickly and go out an execute. And our guys did a good job."

So where does the competition go from here? Monday's practice might give more of an indication, if reps start to change. Quinn singled out Renfree for his command of the offense and called his ending "awesome," making you wonder if a shift might occur.

Renfree hasn't seen his NFL career get going yet after joining the Falcons as a seventh-round pick out of Duke. He was placed on injured reserve as a rookie in 2013 due to a preseason shoulder injury and hasn't played in a regular season game yet.

"Fortunately, I was able to work with a good physical therapist," Renfree said of his shoulder. "The guys here have been great to me. I was able to come back quick. It's not easy. Everybody goes through injuries every year."

Fortunately for the Falcons, Ryan hasn't been one of those injured guys. He has not missed a start since the 2009 season. The coaches hope the streak continues. Then, the backup plan won't even come into play.